2016: The Year We Push Ourselves and Still Have More ’Me’ Time

December 2015

People do it all the time, why not Tigers? Yes, we’re putting our professional plans for improvement out into the universe (or, the equivalent to some people: the Interweb) in the hopes at least someone will hold us accountable during 2016.

Resolution #1: More time reflecting, less time reacting

One of our guiding forces this year was “momentum.” I personally wanted every project I led or participated in to be done on time, or at least to not be the obstacle to disrupt timelines. But that dedication to staying on schedule came at a cost, especially as we acquired new clients. I made mistakes that eroded our “hardwired to trust” corporate value. And I worked longer hours without letting my brain or body rest, pushing me precipitously close to burnout mode.

So next year Maureen and I are scheduling more downtime on our calendars, whether it’s daily 30-minute walks or a weeklong vacation without WiFi access. We’re hoping if we truly honor these moments of reflection we also will abide by our “we imagine” value and become better at what we do as both creatives and small business owners.

So, from a practical standpoint we resolve to:

• Dedicate at least one full weekend a month to being work-free
• Embed enough time in project timelines to allow ideas to gestate and drafts to be more editorially sound
• Take two to three “real” vacations this year – the kind where we truly detach from the daily grind

Resolution #2: Putting on a bigger, bolder face

When forming Twirling Tiger Press in late September 2013, we knew our company’s core values and mission because they aligned with our personal values and career paths. Our company has grown since the first iteration of our website, and we now have a well-honed message describing all facets of our company and services…and we want to tell the world. Many sections of our current website will require updates. This has been the catalyst for revamping our website, which is currently in the design stage.

Our website goals are to:

• Better inform an increase of website visitors about our services, unique capabilities and how we can serve them…and add more samples of our work
• Create engaging, helpful and entertaining content with a more focused theme for all social media communications and blog posts

Resolution #3: Keep our clients happy

Earlier this quarter we sent out a short client satisfaction survey and received a 100% response rate. And each had positive things to say about the custom content and customer service they receive from us. Most found our editorial, graphic design and illustration work excellent or very good. They also loved how quickly we respond to requests and raised the bar for quality in their publications, white papers, case studies and success stories, blog posts, public relations collateral and marketing materials.

This positive feedback helps reinforce our corporate value “power with purpose” and let’s us know we’re helping our clients grow their customer bases, memberships and media exposure.

These survey results and outstanding participation rate also make us want to work even harder in 2016 to maintain those high marks and build even stronger bonds with those brands and others we partner with in the coming year. It’ll become a bigger challenge as we grow, but by hiring the right people for the right projects, we can continue to exemplify that “fierce excellence” that guides us as a company.

Therefore we resolve to:

• Maintain a 90% or better overall client satisfaction rate throughout 2016
• Make sure every member of our Tiger Team has what he or she needs to create content that meets or exceeds our clients’ expectations and with dedication to excellent customer service

Resolution #4: Be an outstanding protégé

Last week we announced that we’d been chosen for a prestigious mentorship with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. Next year it’ll be important to show that the judges were not wrong in their selection. So our final resolution is to be one of the best (if not the best) mentee the Blue Cross Blue Shield folks have mentored.

While we don’t know yet what the relationship will be, we can in general promise to:

• Meet any deadlines or requests made
• Show proof we took our mentors’ advice when possible
• Attend each meeting fully prepared, engaged and read to learn